Sramana Mitra: What was the e-learning business that you were trying to raise money for? Who were the customers? What kind of e-learning are we talking about?
Demitri Memos: It was corporate e-learning. The idea was that we were to provide a platform with some content.
Sramana Mitra: This was going to be for Greek customers? What customer base were you designing this for?
Demitri Memos: We weren’t that wise. We focused on the Greek market. We thought of raising money in Greece for the Greek market. We failed to raise capital as access to capital in Greece was terrible at that time. It’s a bit better now but it’s still not easy to get money. We failed with that. The recession started to hit. There wasn’t really any corporate customer in Greece that was interested in developing their personnel. That was the end of our e-learning journey. We ended up with nothing. Our next stop was social games.
Sramana Mitra: All this was while the digital agency was generating some cash?
Demitri Memos: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: What scale was the digital agency running at? How much were you making in terms of annual revenue with the digital agency business?
Demitri Memos: We peaked at about 2010 when we reached $1 million in revenue.
Sramana Mitra: The next experiment was social games. Tell me more.
Demitri Memos: It was a way to engage with your target audience. The digital agency was doing, apart from websites, marketing campaigns. Facebook was hot. We ended up doing an online quiz game. Then we hit a jackpot. We had the most popular social game in Greece.
Sramana Mitra: Was it a free game or was it an in-game purchase model?
Demitri Memos: At that point, it was free. It was successful, so we devised a plan to monetize it. For the next couple of months, we focused on a model that incorporated sponsors. Companies can sponsor a section of a game and we would send traffic to their Facebook page. For the next six months, we did great. We partnered with an electronics retailer in Greece. We had the most popular Facebook page in Greece.
Sramana Mitra: You were developing real expertise in digital marketing and Facebook page marketing. It’s the digital advertising business model essentially.
Demitri Memos: Right. We also experimented with other things. Once more, we tried to raise some capital. It was learn-as-you-go. At that time, we were introduced to a customer that had built this ship tracking software. He had some success with it, but he wanted some help to develop it further. It was a free service where you could track any vessel in the world.